19
Feb 12

UVNA Meeting Notes – February 16th 2012

 

We had a nice turnout at this month’s meeting – thanks to all the new and old faces for attending.  We started off with a quick review of last month’s meeting notes and did a quick revisit of the new ward map and what that means for Ukrainian Village residents.  The short version is that most of  the neighborhood defined by the city as Ukrainian Village (Western to Damen, Chicago Ave to Division St) will become part of the new 2nd ward. The western edge of the neighborhood, as well as those residents on the south side of Chicago Avenue and east side of Damen Avenue will be in the 1st Ward. For the details on when this all goes into effect, see the notes from the conversation we had with Paul Sajovec from Alderman Waguespack’s office last month.

Old Business

  • Permit Requests: We have been waiting to do a permit review on some proposed construction in the 2100 block of W. Haddon but it looks as though that project has been put on hold for now.
  • Liquor License Requests – as of the time of the meeting we were unaware that Red Apple or the Damen-Augusta FoodMart had requested permits.  Following the meeting however,  Red Apple filed their request.   In response, the 32nd Ward is hosting a meeting along with some of the folks from the CGNA on Tuesday 2/28 to organize community objections to the request.  The community has 40 days to log comments before the request is granted or denied.  The meeting will start at 6pm, at 2657 N. Clybourn. Call Suzi for more info: 312-371-7168

New Business

  • New Alderman for Ukrainian Village: Alderman Fioretti’s office has already been in contact with the UVNA and we hope that we’ll see him at an upcoming event so everyone has a chance to meet our new 2nd ward alderman
  • Blue Bin Recycling : We are slated to receive blue recycling bins  on March 21st and to see pick-ups begin on April 2nd!  Read more here regarding dates and times for neighborhood meetings with more details.
  • Walking Tour of  Churches in Ukrainian Village! One of our neighbors has already reached out to the churches in the neighborhood and has lined up 5 interested churches and chosen a workable date of June 16th.  We’ve got the basic details up here on our website. Now we need to get some flyers/promotional materials designed, promote the event and organize the activities.  WE NEED YOUR HELP! There are many tasks that will only require an hour or so of your time , so let us know how you can help by sending an email to info@uvna.org
  • Expanding Our Boundaries: While we cannot change the boundaries that the city has defined for the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood without a vote in city council, we can change the boundaries covered by our Association.  Based on requests from residents, we are considering expanding our southern boundary to Huron or Erie, or Grand.  All thoughts and feedback are appreciated at info@uvna.org. We may put this to a vote at our next member meeting in April.
  • Next month’s meeting : In March it will be a social event at a neighborhood bar.  We’ll be inviting friends and neighbors from the surround neighborhood associations too ! Same date/time as the March meeting (3/15, 6:30pm) , location to be confirmed shortly.

Crime & Safety

  • Suspect Caught: Pizza Robbery suspect caught while trying to steal a car – story here.
  • Suspect Photo Released: Subway Shooting suspect still at large but this photo has been released
  • Chicago Police Dept: Safe & Sound Seminar: Wed 2/29 6:00pm-7:00pm, Smith Park (2526 W. Grand Avenue)
  • Chicago Police Dept Keeping it Real Forum: Saturday March 24th,  St Mary’s Auditorium, 1127 N. Oakley

The Neighborhood Watch Group

This summer a few of our neighbors organized their own neighborhood watch group on facebook in order to share information among neighbors, post ideas, and support our community. You can find the group and request to join it here. They recently held their first get-together and shared these notes from their meeting:

  • The founder of the group shared his map of mugging danger spots compiled over the last 8 months with data gleaned from the Chicago Clearpath system.  More recently the activity has been in the Wicker Park area (Damen) and Noble Square area (Ashland). Over the Fall it was focused near Cortez & Oakley, and this past summer was along Grand & Western.
  • They have been working to get more Neighborhood Watch flyers to hand out and post.  We gave them a bunch the UVNA has received from CAPS and they are working with CAPS to get more.  They have also created a printable version online.
  • They are making more connections within CAPS and the Aldermen’s offices and are trying to connect existing block clubs and phone trees.
  • They would like to lobby the Aldermen to hep bring more foot patrols to our area from the police.
  • They are working to update their facebook group to make it more useful and easier to navigate for new users

 

Please be sure to mark your calendars for our social event on March 15th! Details to come soon!


21
Jan 12

UVNA Meeting Notes – Thursday, Jan 19th 2012

The big topic Thursday night was the new ward map for the city and Ukrainian Village’s new location in the reconfigured 2nd ward.  Paul Sajovec from Alderman Waguespack’s office was on hand at the meeting to talk about the remap process, and what happens next for our neighborhood.  WBEZ put up a nice interactive map of the entire city  – click here to see it.  Click on any ward area on the map and the name of the Alderman along with population statistics will pop up.  Here is a summary of the questions we posed to Paul and the answers we received.

  • When does the new map go into effect? – The City Council has to vote on a date to ‘flip the switch’ so to speak, to put the new ward boundaries into effective in terms of services. Politically however,  we would not have a new alderman until 2015 – the next election.  All the aldermen have promised to serve both new and constituents  during the switchover in terms of helping to find solutions to problems or concerns.
  • What are the chances that the map could be radically redrawn again? – Not high.  There may well be one or more lawsuits filed to challenge the map and the population deviations that now exist between some North Side and South Side wards, but any changes would most likely be to slightly redraw some of the ward boundaries as opposed to an overhaul of the entire map.  This article from Friday’s Chicago Sun-Times nicely summarizes the logistics behind the current map as well as the legal challenges that could be made against it.
  • What can citizens do to complain about or support the new ward map? –  Keep apprised of any additional hearings that are announced to discuss the map.  While it’s true that this new map was not one that any of us saw or commented on, the vocal opposition by the voters in the 43rd ward (Lincoln Park) to breaking up their neighborhood into 5 wards probably helped to keep their ward mostly intact in the new map.

While the new ward map was the hot topic at our meeting, we did discuss other topics as well:

  • Stoplight at Chicago & Hoyne – Alderman Waguespack does not want to let the ward remap process slow any other initiatives down like this one, though the intersection will fall into the 2nd and 1st wards not the 32nd. The stoplight is on a list of to-do’s for CDOT but the 32nd ward has offered some of their menu funds to help pay for it and perhaps move it up on the list. The 1st ward has not committed any funds to this process.  We will probably need to meet with the new alderman to check in on this issue.
  • Recycling Blue Bins – Based on this interactive map provided by the city – it looks as though we’ve been left out in the cold again when it comes to recycling.  The 32nd ward was not sure of the details at the time of the meeting, but at the time of writing up these notes, it looks as though Ukrainian Village will not be part of the Recycling trial that the city will be running.
  • Pedestrian Zone Designation – On January 9th Alderman Moreno held a hearing about extending the pedestrian zone on Chicago Avenue from Wood west to Damen (link to Urban Times article).  The UVNA has raised the question of extending the pedestrian zone on Chicago Avenue from Damen to Western as well.  “A pedestrian zone encourages businesses that service local residents,… concerned with pedestrian safety and comfort, they are intended to promote a vital economic area.” (Steven Valenziano, Dir. of Ordinance Admin., Dept. of Housing and Economic Development). Other examples of nearby pedestrian zones are Division St. from Marshfield Ave. to Leavitt St., Milwaukee Ave. between Division St. and North Ave. and Milwaukee Ave. from North Ave. to Damen Ave. Chicago’s zoning code for Pedestrian Streets is 17-3-050 .  We will need to follow up with the Alderman’s office to determine if it would be feasible, and next steps.
  • Streetlights out blockwide –  During December and January entire blocks our neighborhood have had their streetlights out for 7 days or more.  Like other city departments, the Bureau of Electricity is short on resources and has a backlog of requests.  If your entire block of lights are out,  please call 311 AND notify the Alderman’s office as well in order to get the problem rectified quickly.
  • Snow shoveling – Please let the Alderman’s office know — as well as call 311 – of any business that has not shoveled their sidewalks
  • Snow plows –  The city has a new ‘snow portal‘ . You can find the snow plow tracker, a link to the snow corps, as well as a couple of winter apps – one which will help you find you car if it’s been towed!  The snow plow tracker may become even more useful as it appears that the city has changed the plow priorities due to budget cuts.  Side streets may not get plowed for up to 24 hours after a snowfall, so keep that in mind.
  • CHURCH WALK! – We are planning to host an architectural walking tour of 3-5 of our neighborhood churches this spring/summer -possibly in June and we are looking for a few volunteers.  If you think your church would be interested,  and/or if you would be interested in being a docent or helping to coordinate the event, please let us know. Send an email to secretary@uvna.org with the subject line “Church Walk”.

20
Dec 11

Meeting Notes: UVNA December Meeting, 2011

 

Stoplight Request at Chicago & Hoyne

The request for a stoplight at Hoyne & Chicago is one that goes back a couple of years in our neighborhood. You can read the minutes from our July 2011 membership meeting for more details of a conversation we had with the offices of the 1st and 32n wards.  The topic was brought up again this month in light of the ward redistricting.  Supposedly both wards have said they will each commit to 1/2 the budget for stoplight, from money from their own menu funds if CDOT does not fund it.  People continue to complain about the dangerous crossing for pedestrians at this intersection and we will check in with the Aldermen in January.

 

Proposed extension of the “Pedestrian Street” designation for Chicago Avenue

This news comes from our neighbors at the EVA.  1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno, and 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waugespack are proposing to extend Chicago Avenue’s  “pedestrian street” designation from Ashland Avenue west to Damen Avenue. It now stops at Wood Street.  A pedestrian street in Chicago zoning parlance requires storefronts close to the sidewalk and bans strip malls, drive-through’s, auto lots, gas stations, car washes and self-storage warehouses. Division Street is a pedestrian street between Milwaukee and Leavitt.  We support the EVA and the Aldermen in this proposal and would like to suggest extending the pedestrian street designation all the way to Western Avenue.  We will follow up with the EVA.

 

Liquor License Requests in the 1st and 32nd Wards

There has been a lot of talk about two different businesses  located on the eastern edge of our neighborhood applying for permits to sell liquor. The  first location is the Augusta-Damen Food Mart on the NE corner of Augusta & Damen Avenues.  1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno lifted a package liquor sales moratorium that was in place along Damen Avenue from Division to Augusta, based on signatures collected by the Food Mart in favor of liquor sales at that location. This means that the establishment may now apply for a license to sell liquor.  More on the application process to follow.

The second location that has supposedly shown interest in selling package liquor is the new Red Apple convenience store at the corner of Chicago & Damen.  As of this meeting, they had not yet applied for a license.

According to the City of Chicago’s website (and also summarized nicely on Everyblock.com) an establishment must apply for a license and go through the following notification process:

  • Within 5 days of the application file date, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection is required to notify all of the registered voters residing within 250 ft. of the proposed business location by mail.
  • The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection is responsible for sending notice to the alderman and the police district commander.
  • The Department of Revenue will publish a legal notice in a daily newspaper of general circulation in the city, four times over a two-week period
  • The public has the opportunity to provide comments or submit written objections to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. The public has 40 days to submit comments and/or written objections.
  • No liquor license will be issued until the public comment period has expired. The public comment period ends 45 days after the application is filed.

As far as we know, neither establishment has filed any application.  We will bring this topic up for discussion at the next UVNA meeting, possibly with representatives from either or both businesses, in January, and if applications are filed before that time we will inform all UVNA members.

 

Blue Recycling Bins

We’ve been told that our neighborhood will be part of a pilot program beginning in January , to test out private-company recycling with Waste Management. We’ll let you know more when we hear more.

 

Building Permit Review for 2112 W. Haddon

We will follow up with the folks who are interested in making some changes to this address to allow for a handicap entrance and hope that we can review their plans at the January meeting.

 

Ukrainian Village/Preservation Chicago Spring Church Walk

We met with some enthusiastic folks from Preservation Chicago at Alderman Moreno’s Thursday night event at Boundary a couple of weeks ago, and discussed the possibility of hosting an architectural tour of our neighborhood churches sometime next spring or summer.  They were interested in co-sponsoring this event with us – lots of great ideas.  We would like to get a committee together to meet with Preservation Chicago and organize a small walking tour of our historic churches.  If you would be interested in helping out in any small way in such an event, please send an email to secretary@uvna.org and let us know.

 

Winter All-Neighborhoods Party

We’ve reached out to the various neighborhood associations that border Ukrainian Village to see who is interested is trying to gather all of together for a little social get-together. The response has been good,  but we have not yet set a date, time , or place.  More to come!

 

Helping out with the UVNA

The UVNA is a small neighborhood organization made up of volunteers. We’re always looking for people who are interested in getting more involved in their neighborhood, and can use help organize events, work on the newsletter,  or the event calendar on the website,  etc.  If you’re interested in volunteering with the UVNA drop us a line at info@uvna.org


11
Nov 11

Reminder: UVNA Social/Happy Hour – November 17th !

In place of our November meeting we’re hosting a Social/Happy hour on Thursday November 17th at the Old Oak Tap (2109 W. Chicago Avenue). We’ll been in the enclosed patio area from 6:30pm-8:30pm for a little socializing with your neighbors. Grab your neighbors and come on by!


21
Oct 11

UVNA Meeting Notes – Thursday October 20th, 2011

The big topic right now in our neighborhood is the potential closing of the 13th District Wood Street Police Station.  It started out as a rumor, but the the Police Supt, and the Mayor’s office informed the Aldermen that it was going to part of the budget cuts for the upcoming city budget.  With crime in our neighborhood on the upswing since this summer, now is not the best time to be talking about the removal of the police station in our midst. You  may have seen the flyers, or the Facebook page, or website of  a newly-formed neighborhood group that has sprung up to support the continued operation of the 13th District police station.    You missed an amazing opportunity tonight to sit down with the woman who has kick-started this group,  as well as Alderman Waguespack, to talk  about the station closing,  proposed city budget cuts, and what all this means for the city and our neighborhood.

The Alderman started things off with a run-down of the the recent budget meetings at city hall as a way to put the station closing issue in perspective.  So far 5 departments out of 40 have been reviewed – the Police Department budget comes next week.  Here are some things you may or may not know about what our Mayor wants to do in the next fiscal cycle to tackle the 635 million dollar budget deficit that we are facing:

  • Raise the fees for water usage ; You can read more about it here. What the Alderman also told us though is that if you don’t have a water meter on your home, you should get one installed as that often can decrease your city water bill.  There is a program out there to get water meters installed, that hasn’t been well promoted by the city called MeterSave.  Most households pay a flat rate that could be lowered by installing a water meter as most of us don’t use the amount we are being charged for now at the flat rate.  This might also offset the large increase the city plans to add to households.
  • Increase the price for a city sticker: If you drive and SUV or any ‘heavy’ car, your sticker prices are going to go up.
  • New Garbage contract: Forcing the Streets & Sanitation department to bid against Waste Management for garbage and recycling pickup. Yes, you heard it right Ukrainian Villagers, there’s a good chance we’ll have recycling in our neighborhood by the end of the year.
  • Increase the fees on Valet parking services. This was an interesting point. Did you know that those services only pay about $25 a year for their valet parking space in front of businesses? The city wants to charge them $1.50/hour.  Got to agree with the Alderman who is suggesting that they be charged more like $5- $10 an hour.
  • Collect on uncollected debt: Actually, the city didn’t propose this, but they did let slip that there is a HUGE amount of uncollected debt that goes back to 2008. How huge? $700 MILLION DOLLARS. This is something else that was news to the Aldermen.  This does NOT include uncollected parking ticket revenue by the way. This is money owed to the city by businesses like say, banks.  Check in with Alderman Waguespack as he has asked to get the spreadsheet of who owes what.  That’s gotta be interesting. And just think what kind of dent it would make in the budget if we collected only 1/2 of it?
  • Reducing the budget for Graffiti removal – This seems hard to believe, but true.

All this was a way of talking about how large the budget deficit is, as well as the various places that money could be saved.  If heavy water-use businesses had to pay for the actual amount of water they used instead of a flat rate based on the type of building they were in, that would bring in extra revenue, along with charging valet parking companies with an actual usage fee, or even collecting city debt.   These would save more money to the city and not leave us without a police station.

Next,  we moved onto a longer discussion about the proposed closing of the 13th District Station and what has been done so far to get the word out, what others are saying, etc.

  • Ann Shaw was on hand and brought flyers and lots of information and insight to the challenges we face w/o a neighborhood police station. Here is what she’s done so far:
    • She is posting updates and news articles and volunteer events on the Save the 13th District Facebook page , website, and twitter feed.
    • She has organized a rally that will take place before the Community Meeting next week on the 25th
    • She has petitions out all over the neighborhood as well as online – you can sign up here
    • She has hand-delivered a few thousand petitions to the Mayor already and he was not expecting the large number of people who are against the potential station closures.
    • She and her volunteers are meeting this Sunday the 23rd, at 2:00pm at St. Helen’ Church on Augusta/Oakley to make signs, posters, etc., in to post them and hand them out. More help is needed!!!

What can you do to help the 13th District?

  • Contact Anne’s group:  Volunteer to make posters, hand out flyers or just help organize groups of people. This is a big growing movement and she needs all the help she can get. (facebook, or email:  Save13thDistrictPolice@gmail.com)
  • Contact the Mayor!
    • Call the Mayor’s Office and let him know that you do not support the closing of the 13th District station (Mayor’s #: 312-744-3300)
    • Fax a letter to him (sample letter can be found on the Save13.org site here.)  at 312-744-8045
    • Submit an online complaint form on the city’s website here (Subject Line: 13th District Police Station and Organization: Concerned Citizens and Businesses of the 13th District)
  • Attend the Rally and Community Meeting with the Aldermen and the Police Superintendent on Tuesday October 25th at the Ukrainian Village Cultural Center (2247 W, Chicago Avenue).  Rally at 5:30pm , Meeting at 6:30pm
  • Attend the City Budget Hearings for the Police Department. They won’t get to the Police Dept until next Thursday (10/27) probably in the afternoon session after 1:00pm. It’s free and open to the public,  at City Hall.